When I Learn To Knit

I thought by this stage in life, I’d be more ‘together’. I thought by now I would carry myself with grace and kindness. I thought by now, I would be calm and knowing and able to weather the storms we all face in life without being crippled by anxiety.

I think the problem is this: I never learned to knit. I think if I could knit, then my life would be on a clear and unobstructed road to the golden years.

When I learn to knit, I’ll be granted access to the contentment that has eluded me. I don’t expect all the good things at once, I will have to pay dues, first. At the moment, all I know of knitting is you are supposed to say ‘knit one, purl two’.  I have no idea what that means.

I know I’m not going to go from ‘beginner with the manual dexterity of a toddler’ to ‘extreme sports: knitting edition’ over night. I am motivated though. I have reached an age where I need to stop talking about how much I love the middle part of life and start to actually embrace the middle part.

When I learn to knit a scarf, I will be entitled to novice level understanding. If I can knit a scarf, then I will have reached a point in life where I hang clothes up in my closet instead of kicking them off while walking down the hallway to my bedroom. I will also own a thoroughly stocked and organized spice shelf.

When I learn to knit socks, I will not consistently be one unexpected car problem away from being destitute. Living paycheck to paycheck will be a distant memory by then. I will bake pies that sit in window sills with little cartoon smoke tendrils rising from the pie. Children will gather under the window and devise nefarious plots to steal my pies.

When I learn to knit sweaters, I will have achieved the ability to make homemade gifts that people actually covet instead of endure. I will find grace that has eluded me. I will lay on the couch in flowy gauzy clothes while reading a book and no matter my position, I will look as though I’m posing for a work of art.

When I learn to knit fin mittens for homeless sharks, I will have found my cause. I will work for this cause, giving generously of my time. I will feel neither exhausted or smug in my cause, just contentment. I will develop a twinkle in my eye that doesn’t just look like my allergies are acting up or that I’ve been hitting the bong.

When I learn to knit a muzzle, I will finally realize that I don’t have to say every thought that pops into my head. I’ll need a really thick muzzle, though.

When I learn to knit a life size replica of Larry Flynt, I will finally accept myself as a sexual being. I will embrace the hot, sweaty goodness that is sex without the vague feeling that I’m doing something wrong.

When I learn to knit a pool boy named Raul, even though I don’t own a pool, I’ll embrace my aging body and cherish each roll or wrinkle. The veil disappears from my eyes, the veil that has forced me to view my body in a range from “disappointed” to “just no”. I will look at my naked body, the one that has carried me through all the years, and say “Look at that sexy bitch, right there.”

When I learn to knit a parachute for my husband to use at the Acme One Way Skydiving Emporium, I will learn to live with my husband’s quirks. I will no longer want to stab him when he drives like an aged grandmother. I will find humor in his jokes, even though I’ve heard the same jokes an average of 13 times a year for 20 years.

When I learn to knit house cozies, I’ll be able to coat my loved ones in a special teflon that can only be obtained when you achieve master knitter status. I will be able to whip up stews with ingredients I have on hand. My refrigerator will no longer smell like it holds the contents from every science fair since the beginning of science fairs.

When I learn to knit, then I’ll find the peace I’ve expected for free as we age. I’ll grow wise and stoic. I will have easy answers to difficult questions for younger people who find their lives shift in a positive way when they heed my advice. When I learn to knit, I will lose most of the fear that has been my constant companion.

Perhaps, though, instead of relying on knitting, I should work on accepting me as I am right now. Today. Besides, it would take many skeins of yarn to hold this woman together.

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  • I don’t know Michelle. I loved knitting the pool boy. But answering all life’s questions? For me I know how to knit well enough to create blankets and scarves. That’s about it. Do I know all the answers? I think I need to learn how to crochet.

    You are one funny lady!

  • Who cares that you can’t knit, you do a mean job of crafting words! I’m struggling to completely accept who I am and where I am at this point in time! If we’re honest, we all are….

  • Amazing coincidence. I just finished my first scarf…and last night started a new one. Knit one purl one and I still throw my clothes all over my room instead of hanging them up. I feel like I am channeling my bubbie. Loving it.

    • Yeah? Your first scarf? Maybe I should give it a shot. Although, you’re right about the clothes. I’ve done that all my life…probably not gonna change now

      • Knitting shirting! I knit, I buy gorgeous yarn, wooden needles that make me feel “natural” a pattern book that is way to advanced and then I get home and start knitting with a cup of tea and a movie.

        About 20 min in I change my mind about the choice of beanie or socks and decide a scarf is what I need (no pattern)

        About a week in I’m tired of the color and decide to grab some older yarn to mix it up color wise and a week after that I have a boring ugly now tri colored scarf that I or my two daughters throw in a closet and never wear.

        Knitting, ugh my mom knit beautiful sweaters with skiers in them and big beautiful chunky cables. she sat in a knitting store chatting and laughing with her knitting friends, and when she needed help the “knitting lady” was right there at her service.

        I have YouTube and 3
        seconds in I decide to watch the suggested video of the day and that’s that.

        So I should find a knitting store with nice ladies who knit and share stories of their lives.

        Fingers in my ears, running away from the knitting store yelling f******ck nooooooo

  • Yarn saved my life!…or maybe it was the pie. Thanks for cracking me up. Your funny, my friend. I hope you find a decent teacher. Yarn therapy works wonders!

  • that post was absolutely the best thing I’ve read in forever! I can knit but obviously not well enough to become the Zen Goddess that lies within – I’d be happy to stop at sweater level and just lie around in gauzy layers – I’m off to get my knitting mojo on and …… I’m sharing this on my fb page because I loved it so much 🙂 🙂

  • My wife knits. I thought I encouraged her knitting because I’m just a nice guy and it makes her happy and I was also thrilled with the TARDIS socks she made me for my birthday one year. (I’ll never ask her to make me a Tom Baker scarf because that’s too much work and I would rather have a frock coat so I can be Patrick Troughton, but that’s another story.)
    Now I realize the ancillary benefits of her knitting go way beyond cool socks. And by the time she gets around to knitting a pool boy I’ll be too old to be jealous.

  • I tried knitting in collage, but I never got past scarves – and the desire to insert a knitting needle somewhere fatal into my roommate. Then later I started to crochet. I made a baby blanket (never used) and a full size afghan. I’ve spent the last 35 years hiding them from my cats. I quit both hobbies as neither made me sane. I still have no idea what a purl is. Good luck on the hanging stuff up though. Hobbies wind up costing a lot in supplies and require even more room than your clothes do! And then came computers – so none of these problems are important anymore. My Mac master has taken total control over what’s left of my mind.

  • First, thank you for a gorgeous (and, of course, funny) piece of writing.

    Second, I haven’t tried to knit (or do any other type of needlework) in a very long time. The last time, I think I threw the needles and yarn across the room the first time I dropped a stitch.

    And finally, you have your writing (please don’t ever stop). You don’t need no stinkin’ knitting.

    • haha..I don’t even know what you mean by ‘drop a stitch’. Other than the obvious, I guess.

      I have no plans to stop writing. I DO question myself WHY I do it and what the purpose is, but then I decided the purpose is that I love to do it and that’s enough.

  • Once again, Michelle, our parallel lives collide. 🙂 I was recently looking into crocheting or knitting classes, thinking that maybe that would be a way to soothe my anxiety and slowly, with each ball of yarn I demolished–I mean, transformed–turn me into a Goddess of Wisdom and Serenity. My late Nana used to be a fabulous crochet-er and I picture her, in my mind’s eye, sitting in her chair, crocheting beautiful items and she looked so at peace with herself. So Zen. She and my late mother were also supreme seamstresses. Me? I had the patience of a mayfly who needed to flit around to as much as possible before the end was nigh. I couldn’t even whip stitch two pieces of fabric together in Brownies to make a “sit-upon”! My mom ended up doing it for me! (I can, however, still “knit” my eyebrows together! No Botox here, baby! Ha!) Some of us seem to remain forever stuck between being wise older women and rebellious teenagers. Why this is, I have no clue. I just count myself as one of them! And by the way, when you knit your pool boy, knit Pablo instead of Raul. I’ve heard that Raul uses way too much chlorine! Of course, if you don’t have a pool, that may not be a problem for you. So forget what I just said! HAHA!

  • I have been knitting and crocheting for over 45 years (yes, since I was in utero). Guess what? I am still sometimes sad, confused, anxious and fluffy. But I have lots of gorgeous warm things around, my family has beautiful wool socks, and my house is nicely insulated with extra yarn. And I have come to the realization that, nice as a knitted pool boy could be, knitting is just one hobby that makes me who I am, not a goal to help me be what I want to be. And being who I am right now is actually ok (sometimes. Except in a swimsuit.)

  • I will develop a twinkle in my eye that doesn’t just look like my allergies are acting up or that I’ve been hitting the bong. –> I’m so stealing this, next time somebody’s asks ‘have you been hitting that bong again?’ , I’ll say ‘No-no, it’s this knitting thing i picked up’
    Loved it.

  • As a knitter I LOVE this post – and alas, I still am wishing for all the things you are…..knitting just gives me time to not give a damn about the fact that I am still a mess.

    And, yes, there are many skeins of yarn holding me together – but it is all so soft and beautiful I don’t really mind.

  • I am good at a lot of things. However, the entire category of things that deals with thread or yarn or needles of any kind completely eludes me.
    My husband has to sew my buttons back on for me.

    As for pies in the window sill? It would be there exactly 17 seconds before one of my cats would be all “Fuck this pie!” and slap it down into the floor and then the other cats and the dogs would tromp all through the sticky mess and leave sticky nasty paw prints on every surface of the house and it makes me tired just to think about it.

    So…it looks like I will never learn to knit or get my shit together.

  • Knitting fin mittens for sharks…..
    Acme One Way Sky Diving School!
    Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, you crack me up!

    Someone needs to warn Randy not to use that parachute, especially if it’s been crocheted.

  • I tried to learn to knit (I really did), but there’s this whole thing where you have to keep the tension on the yarn even or it comes out all uneven. And I’m apparently incapable. Yes, I failed knitting. So no benefits for me.


  • Beware of unanticipated side-effects: My mother used to spin yarn out of wool and knit really awesome things with it. Once her friends and relatives found out, they started giving her sheep. Little fluffy sheep figurines with stick legs, sheep pillows, a tiny glass diorama with tiny sheep being protected from a tiny big bad wolf by a tiny sheepdog, and on and on until she realized that the sheep were taking up more room than her actual spinning and knitting supplies and was like “Enough with the sheep already! If you want to give me sheep, give me some wool that I can spin and make things out of.” Everyone responded as one, and the ensuing blob of wool was so massive that the fisherman’s knit sweater she made me with it didn’t even use it all up. I loved that sweater, and wore it for years. She used to love to listen to Lon Simmons announce Giants games on the radio while she knitted, prompting my father to remark “Knit one, purl two, strikeout..”

  • This is fucking hilarious. I also had delusions about achieving a kind of flowy, mature serenity at a certain age (like now, at 52). Hahaha! What a crock of shit. I STILL have an old plastic bag in my closet with the front and back (not attached) of a cotton sweater I began knitting approximately 30+ years ago. Can. not. throw. it. out. PATHETIC? You bet. Okay I just decided to throw it out next garbage night. Really. OR i will hot glue the sections into a fin mitten. Not sure when the second one will be ready. In the meantime, I’ll be hanging out in maturity-limbo. Scooch over, Terri Lee.

  • A while back I bought a DVD called ‘The complete beginner’s guide to knitting. It’s awesome! They are out of stock new at amazon but you can get a used one, here is the link http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000A0P6A4/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?qid=1444511544&sr=8-4&pi=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=the+beginners+guide+to+knitting&dpPl=1&dpID=51-tdUDSYvL&ref=plSrch I have tried watching those YouTube videos, they go too fast so I can’t understand a fricken thing. But this video is good and the woman on the video so much easier to understand. Sewing comes so much more naturally to me, but I am trying. I am still a long way away from making hundreds of coffee cup cozies.

  • LOL – love it !! Although I have to say that knitting (or crocheting which is what I prefer for afghans) brings with them their own set of issues !!!
    If you really want to learn – crocheting may be easier because you only have one hook instead of two needles and it goes heaps quicker (most of the time !!)

  • Oh my gosh…laughing out loud.

    I’ve been knitting since I was like 14, and I can promise you that none of those things have happened for me yet. No, wait–I DO tend to lay on the couch in flowy clothes reading books. But I doubt that I look like a work of art. More like a cartoon. Remember Bill the Cat?

    I’d be happy to teach you to knit, though, in the interest of world peace and inner harmony and saving homeless sharks.

  • While I’ve never knit a lifesized Larri Flynt, or shark fin mitts or a house cozy ( I prefer it to be cool not warm) I can knit, but the only other 2 things on your list is my spice cabinet is well stocked and organized, and I can turn almost anything into stew.

    If you’re ever in NJ and want to learn – I’ll be happy to teach you!

  • I once knitted a sweater for one of my kids – it was hellish. The experience of knitting the sweater, not the sweater itself. Except it kind of was. When I finished and put it on my daughter’s little body, it swallowed her up and I seriously concerned she may not be able to breathe through the turtleneck that was not supposed to be a turtleneck . Plus, it was so bulky that people gave me judging looks and someone may have mentioned that perhaps I shouldn’t give my daughter so many sweets. BTW – I am still not able to lay on the couch in flowing clothes and look all graceful and artsy. When I try to do that, my family worries that I’ve had a stroke.

By Michelle


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